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Entries January 2010 onwards

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COINCIDENCE!  I've been invited to present a range of my songs, sound and visual poems, all for 'responsive voices' at the venue where I gave my first public reading in November 1969. I count this event as my Celebration of Forty Years of Performance and will publish 25 Selected Poems 1961-2010:  WORDSWORKWONDERS at it. This will be on sale in MY SHOP on my website.The Organiser David Miller kindly introduced me on the web and at the event as

"a legendary figure in sound poetry, visual poetry and concrete poetry."

BLUE BUS POETRY READING SERIES  7.30pm Tues 16 February  2010 The Lamb (Upstairs) 94 Lamb's Conduit Street  Bloomsbury  LONDON WC1

************************************************************************************************OXFORD OXFORD LITERARY FESTIVAL  FRINGE last week in March 2010 -- I will be giving a reading at 'The Fringe' -- venue to be announced. PROBLEMATIC! Borders Bookshop hosted poetry readings but they have gone bankrupt so I've lost my venue.  ANY IDEAS? Please e-mail me. 


 THE POETRY LIBRARY ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL LONDON (see LINKS) has purchased 2 copies of my CD: THE CLUE and my BOOK: SEE JIG SAW, 1 for loan, the other for reference, bringing their holding of my work up to 29 books etc.



Visited the home of the French symbolist poet Mallarme on 3 December 2009 to pay tribute to his innovative poem Un Coup De Des Jamais N'abolira Le Hazard (1897) widely recognised as the start of the modern movement in poetry. Did the great flow of the Seine he could see from his desk influence him to write the text across the double page spread and beyond? I cast dice in the garden and subsequently wrote a poem My Turn Now.


Entry March 2010

OFF THE SHELF  an evening of words and  imagesimagesSCREENINGPerformancemusicPOETRY ObjectsbooksMAGAZINES?Other? OFF THE SH ELF


 my alma mater

MONDAY  22 MARCH 2010 

6.00 - 10.30pm

A Slade School of  Art Research Initiative

Steve Willey* shows his new film about Writers Forum and AND including an interview in my Archive in which I announce my Nomination for

Oxford Professor of Poetry

THIS FILM CAN BE VIEWED ON and you can comment

Exhibition of Rare Books from UCL Collection of Little Presses etc 1960s-1980s 



*Steve Willey is engaged in a Doctorate funded by Queen Mary College University of London and The British Library where the film will be archived.  


 Entry 23.03.2010

STATEMENT submitted with NOMINATION papers 15 MARCH 2010

My aims as


would be 

1. to provide a comprehensive update on the hidden mass of innovative 20th-century poetic forms, showing their relationship with time-honoured styles.

I believe all organisms evolve, whether living creatues or human artforms: that proves they are vigorous and healthy. Everyone interested in the arts is pro-actively guided by our cultural institutions to understand and appreciate the numerous developments in art and sculpture, dance, theatre and music over the last hundred years; but the comparable adventurous spirit in poetry is still not widely recognized.

I wish to explain the variety of innovations that I as poet, influenced early on by that major pioneer Oxford graduate Gerard Manley Hopkins, have been exploring since the 1960s along with many poets I have met at festivals and exhibitions, here and abroad; corresponded with internationally. This di-vers-ity, represented by sound poetry, visual poetry and concrete poetry, is traceable to ancient forms in cultures world-wide but manifested anew through the radical achievements of the Futurists and Dadaists in the early 20th century, forebears of the new movements since then. These modern often non-linear forms focus on WORDS and the elementary particles of their component sounds and signs, leading to a better understanding of language and its evolution, crucial to the maintenance of its power and accuracy. I have exchanged my Little Press publications with poets world-wide to assemble The Paula Claire Archive of Sound and Visual Poetry Oxford, now containing over 5,000 items, unique in Britain, initially opened during the Oxford Poetry Festival, 1980. I have used this teaching tool in colleges and universities (in Oxford at the University Department of Continuing Education, Oxford Brookes and our Community College) to illustrate the spectrum of fresh forms of expression that frequently transcend categorization.

2. to demonstrate the revitalization of the tradition of group speaking of poetry a constant feature of my work since my first poetry event in 1969. I term group utterance 'responsive' and 'interactive voices,' depending on how complex my poems are. Furthermore, my philosophy of presenting my poetry, created for specific occasions in a great variety of places -- the countryside, extraordinary buildings, shopping malls, museums, gardens and historic settings as well as arts centres, schools and colleges -- I would like to share with students by working in Oxford city and county with participants of all ages, videoed and archived.

3. to encourage the uses of modern technology, aural and visual in the service of poetry. Recordings, including mine, express the range of electronic techniques and sound effects contemporary studios offer, enabling the utterance  of poetry and its relationship with music to be leading-edge both in the studio and at actual performances. I would also promote understanding of the contribution computer graphics, photography and film could make to a more vivid presentation of poetry books and DVDs, and the internet's potential in developing on-line styles and a wider appreciation of poetry.

My Lifetime in Poetry: see my website


 Entry 24.03.2010

G O I N G F O R G O L D !

is the title of  my 3rd Catalogue I have started to work on which will annotate (all being well)  my work from 4  May 2001 to 4 May 2011.  Presently I am up to 702 poemprojects since I began spouting poetry in a violent thunderstorm on 4 May 1961 in an attic near Primrose Hill, London -- I could hear the lions roaring!  This Catalogue will be an A4 bound book like my first 2 Catalogues (for information about them see My Life in Poetry Section 9) and be published on 4 May 2011, celebrating FIFTY YEARS OF CREATING POETRY


Entry 27.03.10

*  *  *  *  *




please visit the University English Faculty webpage

*  *  *  *  *

Entry 01.04.2010  08.31

Re my official nomination on the University website afternoon of Friday 26 March, I have vowed I will not go to the Press so my spies have been looking out for me to see when it would be picked up. I have been informed that the London Evening Standard (free now) 31 March scooped it bearing the following headline on page 16, with a photo of both Professor Hill, the first announced (see The Times 25 March) and me -- they took my logo with the feather (duster):

'Now Paula Who? enters the poets'


I was disappointed they only mentiond "sound" poetry and "visual" poetry. Why did they chicken out at "concrete" poetry? 

?WHO?   ?WHO?   ?WHO?   ?WHO?   ?WHO?   ?WHO? 

Entry 05.04.2010

M  I  R  E  L  L  A   B  E  N  T  I  V  O  G  L  I  O 

Italy's Great Lady of Visual Poetry and Bookworks


NEWS FROM MIRELLA. She has a Solo Exhibition in Tokyo this autumn. She is busy preparing for 2011 her Solo Exhibition in Klagenfurt, Southern Austria where she was born.This will take place at the Robert Musil Literatur Museum  In 2012 The National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome recognizes the importance of her work with a Solo Show for her 90th Birthday.

Mirella writes "Finally, my MART Donation of more than 350 items (of which your works are a part) will be taken to the ROVERETO MUSEUM after Easter. These are works between language and image from the whole world, given me by women artists working in our verbovisual field. All continents are represented, and nearly all European nations. There are also some Futurist women artists. The MART Museum is the best in Italy for this kind of work. The show will be held in 2011 with a Catalogue." Do visit the Museum website -- a superb modern museum with a major burgeoning permanent Collection.

C I A O  M I R E L L A !

 Mirella first contacted me because she saw my name in the seminal ?concrete poetry exhibition, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, November 1970 -- she had taken part too -- she invited me to exhibit in a group show she curated at Centro Tool, Milan, 1971 and various other exhibitions over the years. I realize we have been colleagues and friends for nearly 40 years. Mirella formally opened my Archive in Oxford in 1980 -- see MY LIFE IN POETRY Section 3.  She has donated many items to my Archive and encouraged a large number of Italian innovative poets to do so as well.

Entry 05.04.2010 late afternoon


Re: Article about me in LONDON EVENING STANDARD 31.03.10 (see Entry 01.04.10 above)

A well-wisher picked up the above-mentioned (discarded) newspaper on the train back to Oxford and, seeing the above article instantly mobiled me the gist of it, saying there was my logo and a photo of Professor Hill, the first-named Candidate, illustrating the text. I immediately went on line to read the article but that version did not have any photos. My well-wisher turned up this afternoon to give me the newspaper for my Archive and I immediately recognised the photo as that of the eminent poet Craig Raine. From the tenor of the article it seems these 2 gentlemen would not like to be mistaken for one another. Mea culpa if I have caused a muddle.

Entry 10 April 2010

 THE POETRY LIBRARY ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL LONDON (see LINKS) has purchased 2 copies of my BOOK: WORDSWORKWONDERS, 25 Selected Poems 1961-2010, celebrating 40 Years of Performance and my Bid for Oxford Professor of Poetry: 1 for loan, the other for reference, bringing their holding of my work up to 30 books etc.

Entry 11 April 2010

P O E T R Y   A L I V E & K I C K I N G  I N 

dreamingspiresO X F O R Ddreamingspires

OXFRINGE the equivalent of the Edinburgh Fringe has been providing us with a CATHOLIC array of Poetry Events this last 3 weeks. In alphabetical order here is a summary of our choice:

ASPECTS OF BEING Back Room Poets 'from the offbeat to the seriously pyrotechnic... poetry and music.' Vaults & Gardens

BEARD, BIRD, HARVEY & HARROLD 'four of the UK's finest poets.' du Pre Music Building St Hilda's

BYRON, GET ONE FREE 'an entertaining odyssey of poetry and comedy with appearances by Lord Byron.' Copa Upstairs

CABARET CLANDESTINO Hosted by UK Hammer & Tongue Slam. East Oxford Community Centre.

CHINA EVENING - Readings with live Chinese Music Malmaison Hotel

DAYS in WORDS and MUSIC 'Improvised sounds with readings from Larkin, Blake, Yeats, Plath, Cavafy and Cohen plus singer-songwriter Mark Bosley' for 'Oxford's creative cognoscenti.' St Michael Northgate

*MUSIC POETRY and DANCE 'Oxford Improvisers working with poets and dancers  to create an amazing evening of new work.' St Michael Northgate

OXFORD POETRY SYSTEMS 'Digital poetry collective joins O U Poetry Soc to present a multimedia feast of poetry, music and visuals.' The Jam Factory

POEMS in a PUB 'Long poems by Milton, Auden, Keats or Coleridge' followed by open mike. The King's Arms

JAZZ POETRY SUPER SLAM 'Godfather of British Jazz Stan Tracey joins firebrand of a performance poet Michael Horovitz for a truly sizzling evening.' du Pre Music Building St Hilda's

*I managed to get away from my Campaign laptop to support this event as 2 of the poets taking part, Giles Goodland and Gavin Selerie supported me at my Blue Bus Reading on 16 Feb. (We met at Bob Cobbing/Writers Forum performances in London 1970s onwards). An extraordinary synthesis of poetry, a motley array of acoustic and electronic instruments, pre-recorded voices AND 3 magical dancers who used the entire church to embody the spirit of the evening. Unforgettable, and particularly heartening for me to see the traditions we built up at the Poetry Society 1969-1977 and thereafter at the London Musicians' Collective being carried on. 

Entry 13 April 2010


Experimental Poetry from the

Archive of Fernando Aguiar

An Exhibition 20 March - 16 April

at the Municipal Library and the Municipal Art Gallery


Many thanks Fernando Aguiar for sending me the most attractive Catalogue for my Archive -- my work is included as we have exchanged poetry since the early 1980s. I discovered Aguiar's work in KALDRON the International Visual Poetry Newspaper run by Karl Kempton CA USA for several years. Enter KALDRON HOME PAGE into your search engine -- I've just discovered it is continuing on line -- I have the early hard copies in my Archive, sent by Karl.


Today I wrote a visual poem called SEVEN WORDS (Cat No 704). I took a strip of toilet paper because I am a poor poet, tore off 7 sections and on each section wrote ONE WORD as follows:


H E       A V E     N

L   A   U   G   H   T   E   R


S      E      T      T      L     E

}     B     I     R     D    S    }


You too can make this visual poem at home by doing what I did and use some flowpens to make it pretty. That is the essence of "visual poetry" -- the poem looks really nice. NOW:  this is really important -- this poem can be read IN ANY ORDER YOU FANCY!!!   Honest!   Tear the sections of toilet paper apart (carefully) and rearrange them just how you like. The permutations are .... as I'm not a mathematician I can't tell you how many, but there quite as few interpretations possible.

NB  Please don't e-mail me any answers, this is not a Discussion Forum but just a bit of fun.

}   }   }   }   }   }   }   }   }   }   }   }   }   }   }   }   }   }  


I feel very sorry for all you folks not in Oxford this exquisite cloudless morning (altho I admit our car keeps getting dusty, where on earth's it coming from?). I was sitting on my balcony by the Isis gazing at 'my' wild white cherry tree in full blossom (confer Houseman how many more years have I got to 'see the cherry hung with snow for Eastertide' ?); Tom Tower was striking 11.00am which means the wind is in the east and *BONK! a 'concrete poem' hit me.  This is it: 


I took another 3 sections of toilet paper (do so hope the Present Crisis won't last so long we'll run out) and cut up each piece into 4. Then I took a RED marker (very wide tip essential) and wrote each letter on the 12 pieces of paper.  THIS POEM IS ALSO AN ACTION/PERFORMANCE POEM SO:  I flung all 12 squares simultaneously up in the air, screaming out the command VOLCANOSPEAK several times -- but I didn't hear any reply -- only got a dusty answer.  The pieces of paper fluttered down to the ground by force of gravity and I gazed at the pattern into which they fell to see if I could discern any meaning in it. Does everything/anything have meaning? If any of you try this poem out and find a meaning in it i.e. HOW LONG the Volcano(s) are going to speak; what LANGUAGE the Volcano(s) speak;  you better get in touch with OUR LEADERS pretty quickly because you are going to make a fortune if you can solve this one.

*BONK! Please remember I am an OAP and therefore use this word in its ancient 1960s sense 'to strike gently'. My NEW OXFORD DICTIONARY OF ENGLISH 1998 (page 203) says (informal)  (i) 'knock or hit someone or something so as to cause a reverberating sound.' i.e. 'the great bell of Tom Tower bonks 101 times at curfew time.' (ii) latest meaning I gloss over as degenerate use  (iii) (of cyclist or runner or rower) SORRY OXFORD BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME 'reach a point of exhaustion that makes it impossible to go further.'  The 2 Volume SHORTER OXFORD DICTIONARY Vol 1 A-M that my father bought me when he knew I had started to write poetry (1961) to my utter bewilderment does not contain the word at all (see page 202).  Must go now, want to see MAGDALEN FRITILLARY MEADOW and write a poem about it. 

PPS Oh gosh I haven't explained the difference between 'visual poetry' and 'concrete poetry.' CONCRETE POETRY is a minimalist structure, even merely 1 word but that 1 word is telling. Someday I'll expound on a concrete poem 500,000,000 people worldwide have seen.


Yesterday evening I saw one of the most powerful and moving TV Programmes ever: BBCTV2's TROPIC OF CANCER PART 5: Bangladesh and Burma. The previous Programmes 'environmental, political and human stories from some of the most remote places on the planet'  have all been illuminating but this latest one is exceptional. ALL ON I-PLAYER for another 7 days. DONT MISS THEM.

PART 5 showed in particular (i) the problems associated with child labour in Bangladesh and the heartening efforts of UNICEF to give these children a small taste of happiness amid the squalour and brutality of their lives; (ii) the dangerous filming of the oppressed 'Forgotten People,' the Chin of Northern Burma. Simon Reeve the dedicated traveller who creates and writes these Programmes was conducted to a remote village at great risk to herself, a heroic medical team and her people by CHEERY ZAHAU, a Human Rights Activist so that WE ALL CAN SEE EXACTLY WHAT IS GOING ON.   She seems to me the 'outdoors' face of incredible human courage that puts the rest of us to shame with the already celebrated Daw Aung San Suu Kyi the 'indoors' Nobel Peace Prize Winner, willingly immolated in her house for most of the time since she left Oxford to look after her dying mother in 1988.  See BBC Burma Country Profile (BBC NEWS).

Simon has justly been given a One World Broadcasting Trust award for his 'outstanding contribution to greater world understanding.'   His website is

I created the poem LADY IN WAITING (Cat No 394 October 1991) in honour of 'my son's friend's mum' which was performed by our poetry, music and dance group CENTRE THE CIRCLE, a 3-year project by myself and  choreographer Jini Lavelle in the Morden Hall, St Hugh's College, OXFORD 20 Oxctober 1991, Aung San's old College. I am glad she knew we did this because her late husband Michael Aris took my message to her on a rare visit. I have created a development  LADY IN WAITING Version 2  (Cat No 657 July 2008 ), a solo piece for me incorporating ritual gesture and body language. I await an invitation to premiere this in Oxford in due course


MAGDALEN COLLEGE FRITILLARY MEADOW at its peak. I took many photos last Sunday.  You will see the  sculpture Tree of Life by Mark Wallender  on the right as you go into the approach to the Fellows' Garden.  Am taking advice how to share photos with you.

 ENTRY 21 APRIL 2010

Thanks Simon Reeve for getting back to me so quickly. What a blessing this wordwideweb is. I am so glad to hear that Cheery Zahau is safe, but in exile, and risked her life to come with you on your mission to her Chin People in Northern Burma. I know you will tell her what I believe poetry can do to help, in the spirit of non-violence that my beloved friend Suu exemplifies.

The dawn chorus woke me today and BONK (titter ye not) a poem hit me!



Please buy some white and yellow CHALKS and WRITE ON THE PAVEMENT ONLY in your location the following, the first 'verse' in white; the second 'verse' in yellow. Please document this with a photograph and send to GEOFFREY HILL EXCHANGE * NO: send it to THE INDEPENDENT c/o article The voice they cannot silence 24 April 2010.  **update 22 MAY: send it anywhere you feel like.

The title of the poem is  (write it how you like)



C H E E R Y   Z A H A U

we write your name in silver


* * * * * * * * * *


we write your name in gold



A                                 M                                E                           N


(bells (whose?) ringing over Oxford as I write this 12.19)

NB  from ME/OF/L/Gr angelos = messenger

Therefore don't shoot!


ENTRY 22 April 2010 

Please enter in your search engine INTERNATIONAL SHADOWS PROJECT HIROSHIMA 1988.  This and following websites detail the Project, begun in the early 1980s, to draw shadows on the pavement representing the victims vaporized by the atomic bomb, so they would never be forgotten.

My project BURMAJUNGLE follows this tradition. In thanksgiving for YOUR Freedom, please write on the pavement - nowhere else-  in chalks that the rain can wash off, your commitment to FREEDOM FOR ALL. I am e-mailing contacts worldwide to ask them to do this. Please e-mail your friends to do it. TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE:


you'll see!

23 April 2010

Please visit RED FOX PRESS

Francis Maele in Southern Ireland produces a great variety of attractive visual poetry booklets, artists books and boxed poems, perfect for that unusual gift.  He is very active in taking his publications to Book Fairs internationally and it is encouraging to see the number of Institutions that now buy his products, yet another indication of the growing interest in what I call 'the delicatessen of the book world,' Small and Little Presses providing tasty morsels for our delectation.

24 April 2010

Please visit The Independent today Saturday 24 April: The voice they cannot silence: The freedom fighter who dares defy the Burmese regime -- a report by Andrew Buncombe.

In hard copy this appears in the Independent Magazine. On the front cover is a photo of Win Tin, 80, a senior colleague of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who served more than 19 years in jail -- almost all of them in solitary confinement. His right hand is raised palm facing us in the Buddhist mudra 'fearlessness' and on it he has inscribed 'AUNG SAN SUU KYI.' This photo is one of a series James Mackay is photographing to document what has been going on in BURMA.

All We've got to do is write on pavements, remembering the motto




Am re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re......................................................................... READING

archy & mehitabel


Don Marquis


well boss i met

Mehitabel the cat

trying to dig a

frozen lamp chop

out of a snow

drift the other day

a helluva comedown

that is for me archy

she says a few

brief centuries

ago one of old




amen s favourite

queens and today

the village scavenger

but wotthehell

archy wotthehell

its cheerio

my deario that

pulls a lady through 

xxiv cheerio my deario 


Sunny and warm, all the blossom trees out. Walked along Holywell Street down Bath Place past the Turf Tavern -- lots of people quaffing in the garden -- winked at the bosses on New College Tower, walked under the Bridge of Sighs and into Catte Street past Hertford where couldn't resist picking up 5 magnolia soulangeana petals from the big tree outside and came into Radcliffe Square.  OK Pevsner, it IS one of the great sights of Europe this assemblage of buildings: Bodleian Library north side; Brasenose west side; the spired and sprocketted St Mary's the University Church (clock said 6.22pm) south side; All Souls east side; and in the centre the rotunda of the Radcliffe Camera. Stopped as I always do to admire the Hawksmoor Quad of All Souls with its twin towers through the magnificent wrought iron gate with freshly gilded foliage highlights, a sun-face each side at the top.  The low early evening sun shone on all this gold leaf and I thought: this is the spot. My left knee was playing up and I was using my folding stick to help me along but now this came in really handy. Facing east into the quad where the vivid green lawns had recently been meticulously mowed into lines I wrote BURMAJUNGLE on the paving stones over which countless generations of students have trod, they are so worn. Does a stick count as a 'calamus'? I say it does. Then I threw my 5 magnolia petals through the gate and there they settled contentedly in the cloister where the wind could not blow them away. I could hear folk walking backwards and forwards chatting animatedly behind me all the time I was writing the poem but they took not a blind bit of notice. They say women after a certain age become invisible and it's true. Or maybe they thought I was a poor old soul suffering from Alzheimer's.

28 APRIL 2010

Today's concrete poem


E Q U I L    I    B R I U M


29 APRIL 2010


The blossom-burthened, never-weary May 

Again with nature's folks keep holiday;

Trees hide themselves in green, and happpy birds

Sing sweeter songs than can be breathed in words;

The very winds sing sonnets to the sky,

And sunshine bids them welcome -- so that I

Feel a new being, as from healthier climes,

And shape my idle fancies into rhymes

Of nature's ecstasy in bursting flowers,

And birds nest-building and sunshiny showers

That on the south-west wind in singing moods

Sprinkle their drops like manna o'er the wooods,

Where I still love my careless limbs to fling

Among the shadows of young leafy spring.

JOHN CLARE   Poems written at Helpstone 1824-32



On the shrine of St Frideswide in the Cathedral of Christ Church, Oxford - her name translates as 'PEACE STRONG' -- there is an amazing stone carving of a FEmale with foliage sprouting from all around her head, a fitting emblem for our patron saint of Oxford. Don't be put off by the word 'saint' -- everyone who tries to be good is a saint. My dear fellow poet bpNichol (Canada) who died on the operating table when only 44 wrote an extraordinary several-volume poem called THE MARTYROLOGY, making that very point. He gave me these books for my Archive.  

There are countless male heads sprouting foliage, known under the generic term THE GREEN MAN. When I saw the FEmale head on that shrine I wrote THE GREEN WOMAN (Cat No 449) dated 22 April 1994. On May Eve it seems appropriate to print it here. I first published it in my second Catalogue DI-VERS-ITY Extending the Forms of Poetry, 1991-2001. My Catalogues are on the database of (i) The Poetry Library Southbank Centre; (ii) Tate Britain Library.

the shoot the twig the branch the tree

green shoot green twig green branch green tree

shoots twigs all over the branch

shoots twigs all over the branches

green green green shoots

all over the branch

all over the tree

green bursts out all over the trees

all the trees throughout the land

I carry the branch

I carry the tree

green breaking out of me

I carry the tree

I carry the branch

all the trees throughout the land

green burst out all over the trees

all over the tree

all over the branch

green green green shoots

shoots twigs all over the branches

shoots twigs all over the branch

green shoot green twig green branch green tree

the shoot the twig the branch the tree

This poem is for May Morning in Oxford 2011 for the voices of all who turn up, instruments, drums and dancers, everyone waving branches. I dedicate it to the musicians of the Oxford Improvisers and dancers I saw at St Michael Northgate during OXFRINGE.


Heard the singing from Magdalen Tower on the radio, picked several branches from my pink flowering cherry to act as a wand which worked a treat when I wafted them in front of a car as we crossed St Aldate's -- it slowed down and everyone waved -- then walked through Christchurch Meadow to Radcliffe Square. Such merry-making in the sunshine. Delighted they were dancing in front of the gate looking into ALL SOULS Quad, a bagpiper playing on the spot where I had written BURMAJUNGLE with my stick, see ENTRY 27 APRIL above. Chatted to so many people about that poem and my Candidacy, waving my cherry wand the while and pulling off clusters of flowers to give to everyone I spoke to. They beamed and put the blossoms in their hair, behind their ears, in their hats, buttonholes etc. An extraordinary atmosphere of conviviality reigns on May Morning in Oxford, Morris dancers and bands of musicians in Radcliffe Square, in front of the Bridge of Sighs and in Broad Street on the steps of the Clarendon Building and outside Blackwell's. There I had 3 extraordinary experiences with (i) a ferret called Maurice Danser (heavy French accent) who demanded to hear a poem from me. On the spur of the moment I chanted the refrain from Cat No 529, 14 March 1998:


is  in  my  step

spring  spring

spring  spring

bouncinging up and down on the trampoline of the ground as the poem demands. Maurice nodded approvingly and clapped his paws. A lady nearby videoed our performance and said she'd post it on her website. Then I waited my turn to be photographed with (ii) THE OXFORD OX  -- what an impressive beast! He wished me good luck and I posted some cherry blossom in his mouth. The last sight took me aback: (iii) a walking tree. I spent some time weaving cherry florets in it until it walked off, having had enough. I've got plenty of photos taken by a witness and one day I might get round to posting some on my NEWS.

Entry 2 MAY 



Somewhere between painting and poetry

John Furnival is one of the remaining founders of the visual poetry movement in GB, active since the early 1960s. Last saw him in 1988(!) when he attended my Hetty Peglar's Tump event, see my website GALLERY photo. He gave generously to my Archive.  Greetings John. Great to see you are still beavering away and I plan to see your show. Has excellent NEWS section.

ENTRY 4 MAY 2010  My 49th Anniversary of Writing Poetry








a   d   i   n   f   i   n   i   t   u   m


Each Candidate is offered the chance of submitting a flyer (leaflet) up to A4 printed both sides to promote their bid. I have been horrified by the amount of flyers I have received during this Government Election -- I immediately put them all in my recycling box as on radio and TV we have been bombarded with political messages and I didn't need to read any. So: instead of putting a statement from my main supporters on a wasteful piece of paper, I will use my NEWS to convey their message to you. Here is my first, from

WILLARD BOHN, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, French and Comparative Literature, Illinois State University USA. He has specialized for nearly 40 years in the study of avant-garde literature and art and written major works on the subjects. The best-known is The Aesthetics of Visual Poetry 1914-28; his latest, Reading Visual Poetry, is about to be released. Some of the notable recent positions he has held in this country are: IAS Fellow, Hatfield College, Durham University; Visiting Fellow, Cambridge University; Visiting Research Fellow Christchurch Oxford; Oliver Smithies Lectures Balliol College Oxford. You can read more on 

'I like to define visual poetry as poetry that is meant to be seen. Combining poetry and painting, it presupposes a viewer as well as a reader. During the last thirty years, visual poetry has attracted more and more interest, and it is currently experiencing an enthusiastic revival. An internet search turns up more than 77,000 references to contemporary practitioners all over the world. In the nearly forty years I have been writing about this intriguing genre, I have rarely encountered a visual poet as talented or as dedicated as Paula Claire. In addition to perusing her interesting website, I have visited her important archive and have seen at first hand the great diversity of inspiration that informs her poetry. Her compositions are fresh, playful, inventive, and often ingenious. I particularly like the fact that many of them are interactive in nature. She often chooses to perform her works before a live audience. By inviting spectators to participate in the construction of actual works, she introduces them to the mysteries of poetic creation, which becomes a joyful experience.  I think Paula Claire would make a fine Oxford Professor of Poetry, and I give her my heartiest recommendation.'                          CA, USA, April 2010


'I would be very happy to endorse your candidacy for the Chair: Oxford Professor of Poetry. I am Robert Hampson, Professor of Modern Literature at Royal Holloway, University of London, and former Head of the Department of English. I co-edited (with Peter Barry) The New British Poetries: The Scope of the Possible, and have written numerous articles and essays on English and American poetry in the modernist tradition and contemporary poetry. I am a Research Associate at the Centre Vortex, Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris,and have co-curated the TALKS series at the Centre for Research into Poetics at Birkbeck College, University of London for many years. I have been familiar with your work for over 40 years: I first heard you perform with Bob Cobbing when I was an undergraduate at King's College,London, and I have followed your career as a visual and performance poet since then. I am particularly familiar with your performance work with Bob Cobbing in Konkrete Canticle,and your visual/text work is taught by my colleague Redell Olson on the practice-based MA in Poetic Practice at Royal Holloway. Your work has been anthologized -- for example, in Out of Everywhere -- and you also have collected and catalogued an invaluable archive on International Sound and Visual Poetry.You spoke very eloquently about your work -- its visual and performative aspects - as one of the TALKS at Birkbeck, and the students present found your talk very encouraging and inspiring.                                                                                     

 ENTRY 7 MAY 2010




 Highly recommended website:

Quick links to British Avant Garde Poetry Sites

ENTRY 8 MAY 2010NTRY 8 MAY 2010

In my 18 APRIL ENTRY above I told you I would bring to your attention a CONCRETE POEM seen by 500,000,000 people worldwide! Was I delighted when I saw it. Go to BBC I-PLAYER or your DVD and access the first 15 or so seconds of Life the most recent nature series by Sir David Attenborough (*MANY HAPPY RETURNS OF THE DAY*). I'm so jealous of the softwear used in this kinetic online concrete poem. I don't know what it is and I don't suppose I could afford it anyway. In case any of you have not seen this opening title sequence, let me explain it:

It begins with a big splash of water bursting into a circle and in the centre your eye will focus on a mysterious incandescence which increases in intensity every nanosecond suddenly a line streaks down from the point of light AND an ' f ' appears to the right. It is my very favourite word in any language, the most powerful word in existence:


e.g IF pigs might fly IF we survive -- a line from my bubble-blowing poem from PHOS PHOR 1986 created for my Houston Festival performance in the Music Department Theatre of  Houston University with my colleagues from the Experimental Music Studio Texas Tech University, which I later presented at The Cheltenham Festival 1987. Yes this word 'if' is a challenge to the whole human race. ARE we going to wreck everything? Life(on Earth) balances on a knife-edge. For quickly a capital 'L' appears to the left and and 'e' on the right announcing the title in all its stark glory, shadowed inevitably by its opposing force:

L i f e 

Poor Sir DVD. He's spent his entire life round the globe showing us all its wonders and STILL no one will take any notice of him. Going on about rainforests butterflies ice caps all the endangered species e.g. little golden frogs and snowleopards they're my very very very favourite creatures BUT are you really listening you folks out there? Are you showing him you've taken his multitudinous programmes to heart? I hope he doesn't ever read this as he'll get the pip. Anyhow THANK YOU for giving me a concrete poem and proving my point that concrete poetry is a powerful tool in communication.  Concrete poetry is the concentrate of language :  its essence :  so strengthens the whole communication system by its intensity. If the designer of the title sequence knows they constructed a concrete poem, that proves my point that it is important; and     if      they didn't, concrete poetry must be deep in the psyche and came out when needed. Q.E.D.    P.S. Yes, the BBC says Sir DVD has 500,000,000 fans worldwide. I dispute that. Because I am Fan No 50oooooo1.

* * * * * *Y

ENTRY 9 MAY 2010

Here is my 3rd Testimonial.  It is from Professor Michael Corris, Chair of Division of Art, Southern Methodist University, Dallas TX USA

 "I first met Paula Claire at a course on concrete poetry she presented at Rewley House. Being interested in the material and semantic aspects of language, I immediately recognized in Paula a kindred spirit. Despite the differences between our respective historical engagements with art and poetry, I immediately asked Paula to deliver workshops to my students at Oxford Brookes. Paula created a fantastic buzz during her tenure with us (1990-93) and added immeasurably to the educational experience of the students. They had quite simply never encountered such a charismatic and intelligent advocate for concrete and spoken poetry. In current jargon, we were providing an interdisciplinary course drawing on the many important intersections between visual arts, literature and performance. 

Paula's achievements and her long-term association with key figures in concrete poetry, Fluxus and spoken-word performance are well known. Perhaps less well known and worth publicising is her devotion to the task of bringing a love of poetry to a wider audience. Paula's stature as an artist of inventive and often unconventional works might seem to contradict such efforts, or at least make contact with a larger, non-specialist audience appear to be an insurmountable challenge. 

This is far from the case, as Paula's impressive clarity and passion for doing things with words manages to overcome all resistence. Paula's attitude to the public is exemplary and quite the reverse of the steroetypical avant-gardist. She is neither obscure nor removed from the flux of daily life. In this way, her work is truly transcendent and fine, and does so much to bring people into that charmed circle of creativity that often seems to be a privileged realm outside the reach of most.

As I recall her engagement with my students at Oxford Brookes and the general public at Rewley House, I see a figure of great warmth yet also great authority and purpose. She is something like a peoples' muse: a humanist rather than a cut-rate populist. She knows what poetry is good for and how to show others that vision.'



ENTRY 13 MAY 2010

A very steep learning curve since my last entry. On 8 May I went online to look at the University media release (dated 7 May) headed "Eleven candidates confirmed for Professor of Poetry post" and was shocked to find that in the list of candidates I was described as 'performer and artist.'  Five other candidates were given their true status: POET, but I was not. There is extraordinary ignorance and resistance in GB to the extension of poetic forms to which I have been dedicated and am now in my 50th year of demonstrating: sound, visual and concrete poetries and their presentation in novel forms of performance, an international movement of language practitioners whose work is so diverse, imaginative and boundary-breaking that it represents the beginning of the ONE WORLD we must all aspire to, where all cultures are enriched by each other, where the biodiversity of poetry echoes the joy we feel in the biodiversity of the natural world. 

I take particular exception to being described as a 'performer,' because when applied to women it unfortunately can have overtones of trivial and sometimes demeaning entertainment. Being denied my rightful title POET, in fact  PERFORMANCE POET which is printed in large turquoise letters on my headed notepaper (also 'Member: National Association of Writers in Education' and 'Lecturer, The Paula Claire Archive of Sound and Visual Poetry Archive, Oxford' to support my status)  on my covering letter listing my Nominators and my 'mission statement' created a crisis for me. The articles that were triggered by this worldwide dissemination of details about the candidates, in particular the POETS, of course left me out. My many e-mail contacts have suggested that because the last incumbent was a critic, this time we need a poet, so my loss of proper status at the critical time of the first major Press Release from the University seriously hampers my chance of a fair Election, not only in my opinion but in that of my many contacts in the writing profession.  

Having taken advice from persons that I deemed expert in such matters, I wrote a Formal Letter of Protest (2 pages) to the REGISTRAR OF OXFORD UNIVERSITY which she received on Tuesday 11 MAY and to her credit changed, at my request, my title to reflect fully my profession:   'PERFORMANCE POET, ARTIST and LECTURER.' She instructed the Press Officer, Julia Paolitto of the PUBLIC AFFAIRS DIRECTORATE to issue me with the following apology dated 11 May 2010:

The Registrar has passed on to me your letter of 10 May 2010 in which you objected to the description of you as a 'performer and artist' ('Eleven candidates confirmed for Professor of Poetry post,' posted on the University's news pages on 7 May 2010). We would like to assure you that any offence we may have caused was wholly inadvertant: there was no intention whatsoever to misrepresent your professional standing.The University's Information Office received your e-mail of Saturday 8 May bringing this mistake to our attention, and the description was therefore amended to read 'performance poet' as soon as it came to our attention on Monday. On receipt of your letter, we further amended the description to that which you requested - 'performance poet, artist and lecturer.' We apologize for this mistake.' 

Whilst I appreciate this apology, it in no way addresses the basic problem of this 'mistake,' a point I made clear in my letter to the Registrar. The University has a duty of care to see that no candidate is traduced on the internet. The implications of publishing material on line are profound, far-reaching and very difficult indeed to eradicate when once in cyberspace. I cannot spend any more time tracing the effects of this mis-information, but half-an-hour's investigation on Saturday 8 May showed that a disturbing number of news agencies, newspapers, literary sites and general trivia web addresses ALL OVER THE WORLD are displaying wrong information about me: it is there permanently and permanently down-loadable. Yes, Saturday evening 8 May I did fill in the e-mail link after the Article, but as I have had bad experience of the reliability of these, I decided to write my letter of protest, a very demanding and stressful task, unaware that there had been a correction from 'performer' to 'performance poet' on Monday. (The fact remains that this misinformation was on the web for 3 days, a long time in internet terms). 

I believe the University has failed in its duty of care to me: whether inadvertent or not.  I provided proper and easily-seen information of my status in my colourful letterhead and I cannot understand how this could have been missed.  The way the University could ameliorate the situation is to issue A FRESH MEDIA RELEASE containing the above apology with a short explanation to put it in context. I am ABSOLUTELY DETERMINED to pursue the University until it does this, as I'm sure when once the full implications of this mistake are grasped, they will act with probity and do what is necessary.

I will add that I am inspired in what I see is my quest for fairness because I know that the 2 senior poets in this Election, so extraordinarily different in their styles and presentation, would, through their passionate commitment to their calling, never allow anyone to take their true name from them : POET -- it is a badge of honour very hard-won -- or allow misinformation about their profession on the internet. I also, although relatively unknown in this country,  have 50 years of devotion to my art, free-lance, without salary or pension, quietly and consistently adding to my over 700 poem projects. I am deeply touched and gratified that I have won the praise of the 3 Professors I respect most because they are experts in my field -- see ENTRIES 5,6 and 9 MAY above --  and with their support I will persevere in my aim to clean up, as far as it is possible, the damage done to me on the internet which only a FRESH UNIVERSITY MEDIA RELEASE can effect 

ENTRY 16 MAY 2010

Felt like chewed string yesterday and didn't open my laptop. However, in the post I received donations from 2 fellow poets for my Archive and this has cheered me up no end.  Plus encouraging messages from various sources. They all say "BE STEADFAST. "     


Donation 1: Book of terrific poems yo quiero mas sangre randon acts of poetry from the whopping apple. And what an imaginative website he's got. In the inscription he says "don't ever give up." Thanks a bundle Ryan. Your words came at EXACTLY the right time, because I was wobbling.

Donation 2: Continuing our discussion of  his concrete poem THE NAKED 'Y' he sent for my Archive 10 days ago, Childe Roland a.k.a Peter Meilleur (originally from Quebec but settled in Llngollen for 30 years now), in reply to my letter of thanks for this sent me another version AND a poem-object-artists-book called BETH: a fascinating study of the ancient letterform 'B' he explains as 'BETH' -- a house -- e.g. BETHlehem.  In this he has printed the letter 'B' as a heart - the heart of love = the heart of the hearth -- many times in a booklet and invites the receiver to colour in these beths with a rainbow set of pencils provided. All in a home-handmade box he made. Peter has sent me many marvellously inventive items ever since the 1980s for my Archive. He is another relatively GREAT UNSUNG POET I know, but if you want to learn more about him, 'CHILDE ROLAND LLONGOLLEN' will pick up various websites such as  which tells you about a Peter's poem HAM AND JAM based on HAMLET, 'legendary among performance poets' (Cheesman).

Regarding my BIG GROUSE with the University, as detailed in ENTRY 13 MAY above, please visit where you will find me down as OPP Candidate  'performer and artist.' I am mystified where they got this word 'artist' from as it does not appear on my statement which is on the new webpage about the aims of  OPP Candidates. Yes, I am a visual poet and maker of artists books, but if they researched my website to find out I was an artist, how come they ignored the word 'poet.'??? Funnily enough, in my GALLERY there is a photo of me presenting my poem THE SEVEN TABLES in the University Museum, the ASHMOLEAN: this photo appears in the Yearly Review of the Museum 2005: I was quite chuffed when I saw it.  And, as I state in MY LIFE IN POETRY, I was commissioned by the Oxford Diocese Education Committee to write and present with 200 children FRIDE SWIDE PEACE STRONG in the Cathedral of Christchurch for the Feast of St Frideswide (October 1998, repeated 2000): creatd an artists book to celebrate it, got lots of photos documenting it.  Anyhow, this impressive website MY SCIENCE: The Portal for Research and Innovation, published in Germany, Switzerland, Uk and USA, shows you my problem. How many subscribers to Oxford University Media Releases have had the misleading soundbyte they affixed to me? How many times was this 'mistake' downloaded by those well off enough to have the latest gismo phone where you have  permanent access to the internet?




 ENTRY 21 MAY 2010

I have now groused to Dr Perry of the English Faculty; The Registrar; the Press Office; the Vice Chancellor; the Director of Oxford Internet Institute (he has yet to give his expert opinion). Repeatedly groused. They say everything is OK because they have altered their misrepresentation on the internet (ORIGINAL version 7 May) to read now 'performance poet, artist and lecturer.' (Still don't know where they got 'artist' from but as I am a visual poet and create artists books, I'll leave it as acceptable). And all the misinformation is on lots of websites and archived in countless others so I SAY this was NOT FAIR and the 2 gentlemen Candidates who are my senior would not put up with it if it happened to them, would they? I still maintain that as 1 of the 3 Senior Citizens with 50 or more years in POETRY, the word 'POET' is key to being considered a prime candidate in this conspicuous Election for the CHAIR of OXFORD PROFESSOR of POETRY and I was hobbled as I came out of the starting gate on 7 May as who knows who has this info and never bothered to look at the update?

OH what the hell as Mehitabel the Cat says, (see ENTRY 25 APRIL) I DO have SOME good news.

MICHAEL GIBSON Fellow Poet and Candidate has arranged a

B I G  D O


???   WHAT IS POETRY   ???



3 JUNE 8.00pm to MIDNIGHT

I am DELIGHTED at his initiative and will get a 20-minute slot. It seems Stephen Moss has agreed to come too. Then we shall all get the chance to experience each others' work. and so will you!




ENTRY 22 MAY lunchtime

ON THE OTHER HAND I've just had to complain to the Vice Chancellor AND the Director of OXFORD INTERNET INSTITUTE AGAIN about the amount of websites high up on the weblist still showing that misleading soundbyte about me, prejudicial to my bid. I said 'If putative employers can get away with this, the internet is MAYHEM.'  I believe only a senior poet with a lifetime's experience of addressing a wide audience has a chance to be preferred by the Electorate at Large: i.e. CONVOCATION. Those 2 poets are Michael Horovitz, hugely experienced and high-profile; and Paula Claire, 50 years a poet, 40 years an international presenter of her poetry always involving all present in vocal response consistent with her philosophy: POETRY=COMMUNITY.

Many people are being mislead into thinking I am  'performer and artist' (given out on initial Eng Faculty webpage, 7 May) but I know that the






Felt in need of something uplifting so went to Choral Evensong at the Cathedral at 6.00pm today. The chap on the gate said "It's the College Choir this evening" in a meaningful tone of voice; so I said "GOOD" in a meaningful tone of voice back. As I sat in my stall, I heard an extraordinary cluster of clicking sounds over the venerable paving of the south aisle as the Choir processed in. Stilettoes! What a Choir: young women, several in gorgeous short summer evening dresses, the young men in dinner suits with red carnation buttonholes.  They sang with fullblooded intensity that sent shivers down my spine.

After the service I went over to St Frideswide's shrine to photograph the Green Woman carvings. There are 3 of them, all different on the south side and one, de-faced on the north. I shall use them to illustrated my poem GREEN WOMAN -- see ENTRY 30 April above. I lit a candle in honour of this strong woman. When King Algar of Leicester came to Oxford to tell her he was going to marry her to annexe the lands her father had left her, she refused, saying she was married already. Algar laughed. "I don't see any husband to protect you," he sneered. "No, you don't, I'm married to God," she replied -- she and her friends were living in the little convent her father had built for her on the site of her shrine, so legend has it. She ignored all his threats and throughout her life maintained her healing mission, greatly loved by all who knew her. 

It was an honour to be commissioned by Oxford Diocesan Education Committee to tell her story in my poem FRITHE SWITHE PEACE STRONG based on the detailed narrative in Burne Jones' stained glass window (1858) near her shrine, working with 200 local children, both in 1998 and 2000. I made an artists book to commemorate this, combining the text, photos of the event and a set of cards of the window that were once available. 


After a week the University replied to my continuing e-mails of complaint regarding that erroneous soundbyte they tagged me with -- and  leaving out my vital appellation POET --  which is now permanently on the internet and downloaded God knows where, to the Vice Chancellor and the Director of Oxford Internet Institute, using Dr Sibly, Secretary of Faculties and Academic Registrar as their spokesperson. He says "we do not accept the substance of your complaint, nor that your candidacy has been in any way prejudiced." They would say that, wouldn't they? I maintain that at the moment the internet is


 (copyright Paula Claire) 2010

without regulation.  It behoves everyone putting in for a public position to be on RED ALERT bearing in mind what has happened to me.  If your prospective employer chooses to put their shortlist of Candidates on the internet  allotting each one a soundbyte of their choosing, but disparaging as you see it, having provided them in good faith with the correct information precisely relevant to the job you seek, there is NOTHING YOU CAN DO but bellyache as much as you can to everyone you know. As I am doing and shall continue to do till I fall off my perch. It is immaterial they say they 'put it right' after 3 days. Wrong information connected with my professional status is out there on the internet because of them and I OBJECT.  The Bible says we come into this world with nothing and go out with nothing: I beg to differ. I go out with the word POET branded on my forehead having reached 50 years of continual and diverse output, so please put it on my tombstone whoever will bury me. Yes, I want to be laid in earth where I belong. But not yet D.V. as I have the overbearing urge to write a LOT MORE POEMS! I'll show the English Faculty whether I'm a poet or not!  They issued a challenge in their original soundbyte of 7 MAY (see websites:  my science/Deccan Herald etc etc etc) and I hope I shall rise to it. But I've kissed goodbye to the Oxford Professorship of Poetry, it seems. Che sera sera. It's an Anglo-Saxon four-letter word 



 ENTRY 8 JUNE 2010

Yesterday I sent my Formal Resignation to the Election Officer, Oxford Professor of Poetry 2010 by special delivery so that they would definitely receive it this morning, in protest at what I consider to be SERIOUS FLAWS IN THE CONDUCT OF THE ELECTION. I consider I represent the good of all writers in making my complaint.

1. Serious inconsistency in the processing of Nominations;

2. Serious lack of impartiality and other irregularities in the announcing of Candidates

3. Repugnant Flysheet entitled GEOFFREY HILL published in the Gazette, 3 June, deliberately written to devalue all other bona fide candidates;

4. Serious implications in the Faculty of English's misleading 'soundbyte' about me on the internet.

I have documentary evidence for all I assert.

I demand that an Independent Committee unconnected with the Faculty of English that has attempted to stage-manage this year's Election, be established to run the Election in a genuinely reformed and modern way: efficiently, transparently and democratically, backed up by advice from internet experts and given an independent complaints procedure. Only then can this august Chair, founded in 1708, be restored to its rightful position of eminence and independence to instruct in the great art of poetry to which I am dedicated, and be a truly cultural force in the structure of the University.

ENTRY 13 June 2010

A wonderful session with CROSSARTS at Brookes Drama Studio -- we meet every month, and this is my 2nd with them -- dancers, musicians, language experimenters. We are exploring the relationship of movement to musical and vocal sounds, a most enlivening experience and everyone is invited to contribute their ideas.

I showed them my artists book FENICEPHOENIX, created in 1997 (Cat No 504) after a visit to Venice. There I found LA FENICE Operahouse being reconstructed after being burnt down on purpose by some workers who thought to create a little fire to give themselves some work -- but it ran amok.

The text



I wrote the word PHOENIX in very large Greek letters, spray-painted in white talcum powder in the empty carpark surrounded by beautiful trees and in the sunshine about a dozen of us improvised all the words, danced and the musicians played, sometimes dancing round us. One dancer seized the talcum pack, squeezed it and ejected great plumes of whiteness as she swirled it round about her and us., weaving her way uncannily through all. It is pouring now so no sign will remain of what we did except in the treasurehouse of our imagination.   

ENTRY 16 JUNE 2010


see BBC NEWS - TODAY - Oxford poetry row

'curiouser and curiouser'

fronted by GOMPERTZ (ex-TATE) and Evan Davis rare breed Cornish Pixie (you don't fool me: I can tell by those jug-handles)

(Alice in Wonderland Chapter 2 - Lewis Carroll)

My father gave me the book and we used to act it together when I was 4.



T H E   

D R E A M I N G   S P I R E S




ENTRY 12.51 GMT  18 JUNE 2010

Everyone please listen on BBC iPLAYER to



still under house arrest on her 65th Birthday

BBC RADIO4  11.00am 18 JUNE 2010

We of CROSSARTS in the first Workshop I attended on Sunday 23 May (held unofficially  at Brookes Drama Theatre, Headington Hill because 1 of our group is involved in a Ph.D there), rehearsed in words, dance and music 


a performance poem I first wrote for her in 1991, having been 'Mums together' for many years in Oxford -- for details, see my ENTRY 19 APRIL.

We hope that someone somewhere will give us space and funds to film this as our homage to a heroic woman who is the SPIRITUAL LEADER OF HER PEOPLE. and a great beacon to us all.

See my 64 words for her last year on website 64 WORDS FOR SUU.


My husband and I have discussed the Programme about Aung San and feel worried that the reference to her missing her younger son Kim could be misinterpreted. It might give the impression that she was a partial mother: nothing could be further from the truth. It could also hurt Alex' feelings. We last saw Alex after we were honoured to attend the Memorial for his father Michael Aris in the Sheldonian; he came to have tea with us not long afterwards. He is a deeply serious character, has had the onerous duty of collecting various prizes on behalf of his mother since his father's death, and anything that could hurt his feelings fills us with concern.

I as a mother am grieved that the person I am privileged to call my friend feels guilt on a personal level. This is the appalling price this noble woman has had to pay and I know all mothers honour her for the absolute sacrifice she has made for the wellbeing of all her people. They will be free. It is not a question of IF: it is WHEN. And I believe it will be in her lifetime: she will reap the reward of voluntary self-immolation in the tradition of the anchorite. With joy and certainty I say: ALL IS WELL AND ALL MANNER OF THINGS ARE WELL. REJOICE BELOVED SUU FOR YOUR TIME APPROACHES!  

ENTRY 23 JUNE 2010

Thank goodness we can all go to sleep again in Oxford now that the volcanic ash has settled, God's in His Heaven and Professor Hill is sitting comfortably in His Chair. (I was so disappointed that now the System is online not more folk voted, considering the HUMONGOUS number of supporters and all their contacts he had. ONLY 1,156? Lazy lot. It's only a 'click' away to vote)

In actual fact, that isn't quite correct this moment in time that he is literally sitting in his Chair: the GLP as they call him in Emmanuel College The Other Place  (info from fullsome article THE SUNDAY TIMES 19 June) is clad in his ceremonial robes today to process to receive the highest accolade of his University: Doctor of Letters. Hope no one in the procession is a football fan. And those robes must be very hot: it's hot here today in Oxford, believe it or not. I shall be watching Wimbledon. 

Oxford is a very funny place. Academics (not ALL female) keep coming up to me when I'm out shopping and say "Heard you on TODAY the other day," then walk off. I thought I'd get the cold shoulder after my spatlet with the Powers That Be but no. They all seem to rise with the lark, these academics. Hear all the world news on TODAY so they are properly informed for discussion with whomsoever might like to have a natter with them about world affairs. Not so me. I listen to the 10pm News on BBC/ITV or SKY then on to NEWSNIGHT. After that exciting show in which I shriek "Bite him, Paxo" and he does! I am inspired to write my poetry late into the night and open one eye about 8.45am. I am known as an owl. Yes, I was a bit worried about my Nominators and also the people who voted for me -- I know a few did(some of them still employed by the University) but so does the University -- the votes are not a nonny mouse. How brilliant. Why don't WE adopt this system for OUR ELECTION? And go round to 3rd-world countries telling them how to update theirs. 

One academic person asked me if it was frightening speaking to millions live at 8.15, mostly stuck in traffic jams and waiting to hear about the football which followed me. GOSH! "The interview didn't frighten me," I replied. "I was told I would be live at 8.15 absolutely, so was in the Studio  all alone with headphones on at 8.05, following the news stories when at 8.11 my headphones went dead.I leapt up and shouted to my carer outside. She got on her mobile phone to London and they said "Don't wait for the lift run downstairs (3 flights) and turn the power off then back on. Hopefully that will boost the signal." That poor lady, like me,not a spring chicken, did as she was bid and managed to communicate to me by gestures as she was utterly breathless to put my headphones back on and get back to that microphone PRONTO.It was approx 8.14 and I just got the last few words of the Northern Ireland interview 'gory tapestry' when I heard the name Will Gompertz and knew it would be my turn soon. My 4 minutes of fame. Or infamy. They've all gotitinforme.

However, I had one nasty moment yesterday. I was just walking down Friar Bacon Alley by St Ebbe's Church when a person I don't like came alongside and did not offer to carry my shopping. "How did you get on today?" he asked sharply. "Oh, I've been relaxing and picking vine leaves in my garden to make stuffed vine leaves. Do you like stuffed vine leaves? I have an excellent recipe given me by a Zoroastrian student...." "Don't come that with me," he hissed in my ear. "How did you get on TODAY at 8.15?" "Because they asked me," I faltered. He stepped in front of me and spat out "RAT!" and hurried off round the corner. In spite of my trembling, I managed a riposte. I gasped "sinking ship to you too!" but I don't suppose he heard me.

I thought it was going to calm down in Oxford but that incident has got me thinking. What is it about this quaint custom of repelling boarders, exemplified by the Election for the Oxford Professor of Poetry Chair set up in 1708 with its elaborate ring-fences of knowing the Right People to prevent any infiltration from that plethora of low lying Fenlanders we still superstitiously won't name here in the City of Dreaming Spires that rouses such passions? Now: it dawns on me, if an inhouse lady put up, she could in theory get it. Very p.c. (that's not short for Paula Claire).  But she didn't, did she? ENUF said. That was last year. Done and dusted. 

Has The Other Place a name for us? Do they utter the dreaded word 'OXFORD' there? Or are they as superstitious as we are? Please e-mail me. I am curious.  


I DID watch the football! My patriotism overcame me. But I must say I prefer rugby -- love to see how those bulldozer chaps can run like gazelles. And Life is a scrum. I speak feelingly: I've been in one.

Wimbledon is my cup of tea ever since we went with our school to see Little Mo! And I seem to remember Drobney played an epic match but nothing like the Gladiatorial Combat between Isner and Mahut -- I was glued to the match. Even today they played for well over an hour before just the briefest of cracks in his armour had Mahut conceding victory at 68-70.

What I loved about this match was the revelation of the incredible: two contenders can test the total range of their skills, physical and mental, to the limit and fill us with awe and delight. I disagree that a tie-breaker should be introduced at some arbitrary stage to prevent athletes from becoming overtired and unable to show of their best in their next match or tournament. We need to feel proud that we are human. I was very proud of these 2 sparring partners. When the match finally ended, how touching it was to see that lanky chap immediately clapping his opponent, recognising that he could not have won without his noble rival's supreme efforts. What a treat to witness such sportsmanship. And how gratifying to hear the commentator declare that they were BOTH winners.

The honour of contending should always be bestowed upon all who put themselves forward in a fray of any kind. Everyone should respect each other and have humility, recognising that they can only win at the expense of others: therefore graciousness in victory is a moral obligation in a civilized society.

I maintain that the recent spectacle in Oxford is disgraceful and I would be ashamed to win in such a way. To show such contempt for all who offered something authentic of themselves, having been legally proposed by Nominators,  by calling us, bona fide Candidates, 'a plethora' meaning an excess; boasting that their Candidate is 'the greatest,' a colossus towering far above us in his own empyrean element, has offended many and brought discredit on the University.

I commend the article entitled Professor Opaque, the Greatest Living Poet in The Sunday Times, 20 June.  The protest about this vaunted 'triumph' is only just beginning. MARK MY WORDS.

ENTRY 25 JUNE 2010

Hey, I got an answer by pigeon-post today re my query (see 23 June) "What does The Other Place call us?" This pigeon landed on my balcony rail, indicated to me it had a message tied to its leg so I removed it and read as follows:

"We call you The Other Place, of course."

"That can't be right," I told the bird. "Hang on a sec and I'll give you a message to take back." I gave it a bowl of water to have a drink as it's quite a way, even as a pigeon flies, from there to Here and back again.  And it's yet another hot day in Oxford.

On my message to be carried back lufthansa I said "How can 2 places be called 'The Other Place'? That's illogical. How would people know which is which?"

The pigeon flew round in circles for a bit as they do and then shot off in a north-easterly direction.

I'm so glad pigeons are being recognised as super-carriers. They played a big part in the World Wars and I think I read somewhere that one got a Cross of some sort for its bravery.

How will the answer be sent back, I wonder? Hope to let you know ere long.  


ENTRY 27 JUNE 2010

It's foxglove time in neighbours' gardens. I love foxgloves. Did a study by cutting 15 open (with profuse apologies, but I was making a scientific enquiry) and tracing the pattern of spots on each. Then I poked my nose (more profuse apologies) into a lot more foxgloves and came to the conclusion that the pattern on each foxglove is unique. Always. Like each human being even identical twins.

WHY? I wondered if their spots told the bees something as they went up the foxglove in search of the nectar and thus gathered pollen to be transferred to other flowers on the same foxglove plant and of course cross-pollinating when visiting other plants. It is why I called this work 15 BEEBIBLES (Cat No 186), an A4 page of all 15 patterns offered as a performance score for all present at Gilbert Adair's Subvoicive Series, Highgate Community Centre, London, July 1981. This event with Bob Cobbing celebrated the 15th Anniversary of the Association of Little Presses.  GREAT DAYS.

When I presented a One Day School A Survey of International Visual Poetry 1900-1990 at Rewley House, University of Oxford Dept for External Studies, 2 June 1990, an Oxford Artweek Event, I published BEEBIBLES as a book, ICPA 27. Professor Corris first met me when he attended this event (see ENTRY 9 May). Each fox 'glove' was given a purple A4 page of its own and presented as a score for voices, instruments and electronics.

I think I became particularly fascinated by foxgloves after I witnessed a little friend of my son's, aged about 4 at the time, dancing about in our drive with a foxglove in his hand. With his wand he was touching various shrubs and plants, entirely engrossed in his work. Alas, I didn't know what to do but keep walking nearer and nearer until he heard my footsteps and turned round. "What are you doing?" I gently enquired (I will keep his name a secret), intrigued by his flitting flight and total concentration on his activity.

He looked at me with scorn. "Casting spells of course," he replied and ran off. Later that day I nipped out to see another neighbour and when I returned, on the kitchen table on our first floor there was a bunch of large white Greater Convolvulus flowers, wilting already as they are so frail.

Next day I saw my magician skipping about and managed to get near him, briefly "Thanks for the beautiful flowers," I called, not sure I had managed to convey my thanks. Then he skipped in a particularly balletic way and I knew I had.   

 ENTRY 1 JULY 2010

T H E   

D R E A M I N G   S P I R E S



TODAY I commence my Dreaming Spires Online Initiative. My thanks to Mary Ann Sieghart for announcing this in YESTERDAY'S THE TIMES, in Victorian times known as 'The Thunderer,' featured in Trollope's The Warden and Barchester Towers. I was brought up on THE TIMES as my father read it religiously. I remember its strange front page and the texture of its distinctive paper in my young day. In her article in times2life, pages 45-6,  Is Oxford the most sexist university in Britain? she gives me the first 2 paragraphs, repeating my complaint that to dock me of my intellectual property 'poet' in the strict context of my job application for The Chair of Poetry was detrimental to my bid as an official candidate. I have now been informed that the technical term for their downgrading of me is 'derogation.'

Please see The New Oxford Dictionary of English Editor Judy Pearsall Clarendon Press Oxford 1998, page 498:'derogation (noun) 2. the perception or treatment of someone as being of little worth: the derogation of women.'

I am informed that a legal case can be made by a woman on this basis and some are urging me to do so. What? Me? Paula Who? A sympathizer came up to me the other day and said "Cor, you've got balls to take on the University single-handed." To which I replied "Compliment a lady not upon such appurtenances, good sir. They are your department. And I am not alone. I have supporters all over the place. I am merely a figurehead. "

Mary Ann Seighart, a graduate of Wadham College and an eminent journalist with her finger in many pies, then raises many issues regarding her Alma Mater(!) that need to be aired and discussed for the modernization of Oxford University. This is journalism at its best. I commend the article to you and trust it will be accessible online for the forseeable future.



Poetry, dear friends and hopefully devotees of this Great Art, is the sum of all poetry that has ever been created anywhere in this world (i.e. that which is now fashionably called 'The Planet') in any culture since the year '.' (that's 'dot'). Most of it is in the aether because until pretty recently in human history, it was and of course still is in many cultures an ORAL ART.

That's quite enough lecturing for one day, I'm now going to walk across Christchurch Meadow and have Eggs Benedict for breakfast at a nice hotel the restaurant of which rejoices in a 4-letter word .... like 'p o e t.'  


Another concrete poem. Remember, a concrete poem is a minimalist structure to which you must pay TOTAL ATTENTION. It is essentially a focus for meditation. It will hold you for ever if you are prepared to go that far. But most of us can only spare a few minutes.


A N I M A L 


The word 'anima' is of Latin origin, denoting that which makes alive i.e. breath.  I am interested in the connection between 'breath' and 'spirit' = that which animates. I refer to my favourite Dictionary, the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary Vol 1, page 68, under 'animate', see 6a 'Poetry, which... animates matter.'  JOHNSON. (Dr JOHNSON assembled the first English Dictionary).  

 ENTRY 5 JULY 2010


Please put into your search engine. 2010 has been declared the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) by the United Nations. There are lots of interconnected websites.

I declare 2010 ONWARDS as the

A     E     O     N




ENTRY 8 July 2010



We are not on the straight and narrow, we are off to the highways and especially the byeways of poetry worldwide. A mind-blowing exploration. I first became aware of the vast scope of poetry through Bob Cobbing's initiative in convening International Sound Poetry Festivals at The Poetry Society (then in a capacious house in Earl's Court Square, West London) during the 1970s. Poets came from far and wide to present their work and discuss it. Here I met poet Jerome Rothenberg and heard him chanting as American Indians had generously taught him from their living tradition. It was EX CIT ING. The Concise OED tells us that in electrical terminology, it means 'to cause a current to flow.' This living tradition of oral poetry passed down through immemorial generations is one of the treasures of humankind. He told us that he had coined the term 'ethnopoetics' to describe studies in world poetry and I bought his book Technicians of the Sacred A range of Poetries from Africa,Ameroca,Asia, & Oceania, Anchor NY USA, first published 1968.

To learn more of his life's work in encouraging everyone to have a world view of poetry, please visit www.EPC/ Under 'WRITINGS' please read Ethnopoetics at the Millennium, first written 1994; and a recent interview Poet and Polemicist by Sarah Suzor in RAIN TAXI Summer 2009.

That should give you plenty of cud to chew on and let's hope you process it in the stomach of your intelligence 7 times as I think I heard cows do. Cows are not DAFT. Fascinating programme about them on BBCTV2 yesterday evening. Each cow is an individual. Like you. And me.


9 July 2010

I've been asked by some of you for the recipe for Stuffed Vineleaves I mentioned in my entry 23 June. This is my adaptatian of a Persian recipe I was given by my Zoroastrian student whose family invited my husband and I to stay with them in 1976 -- 4 days in Teheran, 4 days in Isfahan and 4 days in Shiraz 'city of poets and roses' where I was invited to give a Lecture Performance about my International Archive and my Poetry at the University -- at that time it was twinned with an American one and the teaching was in Farsi and English. People in Iran love poetry and are very proud of their great tradition of poets.

I do not distinguish between the making of poetry and the making of food -- both nourish body and soul. I have a vine specifically to cull its leaves between mid June and mid July for the making of Stuffed Vineleaves -- they are so tender then and at their best. SO: I hope you can find some fresh vineleaves. Wash them of creatures, take off their stems and gently boil them for 10 minutes.

Stuff them with the following: it might make 20 leaves, depends on their size: a cupful of rice (I use Basmati) if using 400g best minced beef; OR 2 cupfuls of rice if vegetarian; chopped parsley and mint; chopped spring onions; sultanas or raisins; pepper, salt and I like LOTS of cinnamon. Mix with olive oil to bind. Take a vine leaf and spread it flat in its star shape. Don't spend too much time admiring it else you'll never complete the stuffing which requires patience and perseverence. Take a little stuffing mix, squeeze it into a roll and wrap the leaf round it, folding and rolling. Place in an oiled casserole dish -- I cook mine on the hob -- they smell so delicious as the steam rises.

When you have piled them all in neatly, cover with a strong solution of lemon juice and water -- limes are lovely too -- and simmer for 50-60 mins -- BE CAREFUL THEY DON'T 'CATCH' AND BURN.  You have to keep checking.


ENTRY 15-16 JULY 2010


Why is it that in Britain there is such a problem accepting innovative techniques of poetry? I believe I was not called 'poet' by the Faculty of English during my Ox Prof Poetry bid quite deliberately because they do not consider what I do is 'proper poetry.'

As I see it, we do not recognize a modernist tradition we are proud of, whereas the Symbolist Movement (painters. poets and composers) in France and the dynamic Futurist Movement in Italy -- Marinetti and his throng, proactively spreading 'parole in liberta' -- words in freedom (free from syntactical control) to centres in Moscow, New York, Berlin, Barcelona... provided the impetus for the big developments in the 1960s.

My inspiration when I began writing on 4 May 1961, with a consistent flow ever since, was GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS. He was a graduate of Balliol College Oxford and I intend, as part of my DREAMING SPIRES ONLINE initiative to pay tribute to him in Oxford at noon on SUNDAY 1 AUGUST 2010 by reading some of his poems to anyone who wants to listen and add their vocal response. I will tell you where in due course. 


GMH's poetry -- it expresses quality not quantity -- had been published soon after his early death, aged 45, in 1889, the course of English Poetry would have been markedly different. We would have been proud to identify with poetic innovation, instead of viewing it with suspicion and distaste as so many still do. Our tradition would have PREDATED Mallarme and Marinetti.

I hold it a CRIME OF LITERATURE that his friend and literary executor, traditional poet Robert Bridges (Corpus Christi) held GMH's poetry back for almost 30 years, not publishing it till 1918. His excuse was that he didn't want his friend's poetry ridiculed so waited until modern expression in the arts made it more acceptable.

In my opinion, the modern spirit in English poetry and literature can be seen in the 1860s onwards in Matthew Arnold's agonized spiritual doubts as he tried to absorb the Darwinian view of creation; in the super-surrealism of Lewis Carroll's ALICE IN WONDERLAND and THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS in which sound poetry and visual poetry is an integral expression; in the prose of late Ruskin; and above all in GMH's concrete use of language. When I went to the Van Gogh exhibition as Friend of the RA this spring, I was struck again by the similarity between that artist's work and that of GMH. Van Gogh's 'impasto' -- pigment laid on so thickly that if permitted, a blind person could 'read' his paintings; and GMH's virtuoso use of words assembled so densely they take on a power in their own right: this focus on the materiality of the medium, whether in paint or language is CONCRETE.

Will you please take to heart what I did in 1961 when I first read these words of GMH referring to his magnificent sonnet SPELT FROM SIBYL'S LEAVES (1885):

'Of this long sonnet above all remember what applies to all my verse, that it is, as living art should be, made for performance and that performance is not reading with the eye but loud, leisurely, poetical (not rhetorical) recitation, with long rests, long dwells on the rhyme and other marked syllables, and so on. This sonnet shd. be almost sung: it is most carefully timed in tempo rubato.' 

ENTRY 22 JULY 2010


This is Poem 1 by Gerard Manley Hopkins I shall read at 12noon, Sunday 1 AUGUST in Oxford. It has a green theme so relevant today. He was so shocked that a row of Black Aspen Trees were felled near Binsey that he wrote this in protest. Some years back a group of enthusiasts replanted a number in his memory -- you will find them in a row parallel to large ones by the Thames on a public footpath just past The Perch Pub walking north along the river.


                                                       felled 1879

                           My aspens dear, whose airy cages quelled,

                           Quelled or quenched in leaves the leaping sun,

                           All felled,  felled,  are all felled;

                                 Of a fresh and following folded rank

                                                Not spared, not one

                                               That dandled a sandalled

                                       Shadow that swam or sank

                     On meadow and river and wind-wandering weed

                              winding bank.

                       O if we but knew what we do

                                      When we delve or hew --

                              Hack and rack the growing green!

                                      Since country is so tender

                             To touch, her being so slender,

                             That, like this sleek and seeing ball

                             But a prick will make no eye at all,

                             Where we, even when we mean

                                          To mend her we end her,

                              When we hew or delve:

               After-comers cannot guess the beauty been.

                   Ten or twelve, only ten or twelve

                         Strokes of havoc unselve

                                  The sweet especial rural scene,

                          Rural scene, a rural scene,

                          Sweet especial rural scene.


Please note that I haven't the capability of putting an accent on the words as he wanted, so instead I have underlined where the emphasis is to fall. Please read the piece out loud over and over again and let it speak to you.

ENTRY 29 JULY 2010


The second poem I shall read in central OXFORD this SUNDAY at noon, inviting people  to join in, is a sonnet  by Gerard Manley Hopkins because it inspired my colleague Alex Selenitsch (Melbourne, Australia) to start writing as a teenager. He has a lifetime of  enquiry and creation regarding the extension of poetic techniques, based on his study of ancient forms.  He has generously donated various works to my Archive. You will find much information about him if you search on his name. 

                                  THE WINDHOVER:

                                                      To Christ Our Lord

             I CAUGHT this morning morning's minion, king-

                dom of daylight's dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his


                  Of the rolling level underneath him steady air,  and striding

           High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing

            In his ecstasy! the off, off forth on swing,

                  As a skate's heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and


                  Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding

           Stirred for a bird, - the achieve of, the mastery of the thing!


           Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume here

                  Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion

                  Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!


                  No wonder of it:  sheer plod makes plough down sillion

          Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,

                  Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermilion.

It could be no-one but GMH. What an achievement, to forge such distinctive poetry. Keep on reading it OUT LOUD. His awareness of language is second to none. He is a perpetual encouragement to me. On Saturday I will print here the poem THE GLORY HOLE I have written specially for my reading in central Oxford this Sunday, and will tell you where.



30 July 2010

This is my site-specific poem written for the occasion that I with those around who are willing will read at noon on SUNDAY 1 AUGUST. Do you recognise where it is? Answer tomorrow, and how to watch us all.












ENTRY 31 JULY 2010

My poem describes the carved stone plaque on the ASHMOLEAN MUSEUM complex; it occurs on the Museum buildings and the Taylorian Institute comprising the eastern wing of the building. The pair of winged lions flank a starred circle containing a shield and crest with further lions. The winged lion is an ancient mythical symbol, millennia old, always associated with guarding Treasure i.e whatever is Priceless in that civilization. Further metamorphosed, it would become a Griffin, the lion's head transformed into that of an eagle. Under these auspices POETS CORNER OXFORD will be established.

JOIN ME and kindred spirits I have found coming out of the Ashmolean, on LIVE WEBCAM 12 NOON GMT SUNDAY 1 AUGUST. Enter in your search engine 'OII webcam' (Oxford Internet Institute) for a REALTIME experience. The camera looks down Beaumont Street with the Randolph Hotel on the left and the Taylorian wing of the Ashmolean on the right. We shall be straight in front of you, in front of the Taylorian.

TIMETABLE: We will greet all those watching with WAVE ONE: 10 waves with both arms over our heads, forming a symbolic 'W' of the worldwideweb. Our 2 OFFICIAL WITNESSES are Alex Selenitsch POET in Melbourne Australia (+10 hours); and Ryan Buynak POET in New York USA (- 4 hours). I have lots of promises from friends and contacts in France, Italy, USA and of course UK that they will be watching us.  

WAVE ONE:  Reading BINSEY POPLARS -- Gerard Manley Hopkins 1879. Discussion with passers-by will be encouraged.

WAVE TWO: Reading THE WINDHOVER -- Gerard Manley Hopkins 1877. Discussion.

WAVE THREE: to you all; then we will turn our backs and look up at the WINGED LIONS plaque.

WAVE FOUR: greeting the lions with my site-specific poem THE GLORY HOLE

WAVE FIVE: face the live webcam and say FARE WELL to everyone. Shall be doing this fairly frequently at random intervals: info on website.





was founded by me as detailed by me in ENTRIES above,  at NOON SUNDAY 1 AUGUST 2010 outside The Taylorian Institute on the corner of Beaumont Street and St Giles, CHIEF WITNESS POET ALEX SELENITSCH with his wife in MELBOURNE AUSTRALIA, their time 22.00hrs, through the medium of OII webcam. He e-mailed me to ask me what was written in white at the base of the wall. I was amazed that had registered, and explained  I had written POETS CORNER in white baby powder puffed from a talcum bottle, a green but efficient way of writing a concrete poem on the ground. THANKS TO LOYAL FRIENDS IN ENGLAND and the SOUTH OF FRANCE who also watched. In due course I will put the filmed event and documentary stills on YouTube as evidence of our GLOBAL CONTACT PROVING OUR ABIDING COMMITMENT TO POETRY THROUGH THIS SIMPLE ACTION.  


Thanks to AMICA (September issue), an international magazine organised from Milan, publishing 2,000,000 copies worldwide, for an article by poet Barbara Pietroni on 7 of the 10 failed candidates for the Oxford Professorship of Poetry, who agreed to take part - the others did not and the successful candidate did not reply. Barabara sent us all questionnnaires from which she selected information, and Charles Ommanney, an exceptional photographer, was commissioned to shoot us. The previous week he had documented a Royal Garden Party.

His focus was stark and startlingly powerful. It made me aware that the way we look at the photo of a man is different from the way we look at a woman. I was so thankful that beforehand I had decided on dressing myself as presenting my poem BIRD BRAINED, homage to the pure instinct of migratory birds. Thus I was decked in headgear stuck with various bird feathers I have found in parks and the countryside, and veiled or caged behind layers of mesh.

The poem also maintains the right of women to wear a 'silly' hat. Women spend so much time tending babies, the sick, the elderly, the dying...  so what might appear the ultimately frivolous gesture is, for me, a necessary escape from grim reality. I hope to give the First Performance before the end of the year. 

ENTRY 22 August 2010 


I am making an artists book PINE TREE, a poem with photos I took when I attended the July and August CROSSARTS Workshops: Tangibles/Intangibles, held in the Brookes Drama Studio on Headington Hill. The refrain of the poem 'THIS is a pine tree -- CORRECTION! THESE are pine trees' requires every one present, performers and attendees alike, to hold a pine cone in their hand, remembering that a cone holds in its spirals a seed in each segment. This is a reoccurring theme in my work: the miracle and mystery of how the micro(seed) contains the macro(tree). Ideally, PINE TREE should be presented and filmed among pine trees, but the event can be presented indoors, provided we have a pine cone each.

 In July there were numerous pinecones under a group of pine trees scattered like stars in the sky. Down a slope rain must have flowed, leaving a stream of cones in its wake.  I photographed all these manifestations and asked the dancers and musicians to work among these pine trees with me at our last meeting. ALAS! The groundsman had been very efficient and swept the plethora up. But a recent storm had dislodged quite a few more.  I had wanted the many pinecones to direct our feet, forcing us to be careful not to crush any thus creating a stringency that would dictate the pattern of our improvisation.

Instead, we found the few and slowly a process turned into a procession as after making the letter 'P' in cones and torn tufts of leaves -- my only 'instruction' to the group, a focus developed along with the musicians' responses: and the dancers 'replied' by the placing of cones, some flat, some balancing upright, along the kerb in slow and measured action.

Free improvisation underlies improvised performance. When All Present -- I never use the word 'audience' in my work -- are present, there has to be a bginning, a process and a result, not closely planned but naturally emerging from the experiences of a workshop group as they build trust over a period of time, an awareness of a group perception alongside the distinctive gifts, skills and presence of each individual.

The experience of group improvisation is invaluable for any creative person in whatever discipline -- utterance, instrument-playing, movement, graphics --because it allows everyone free rein to OUTER what is WITHIN. The magic for me is that everyone is simultaneously alone in their exploration yet subtely influenced by everything that is going on going. Then, after an initial session, we agree to certain themes, certain projects that participants wish to offer. Last Sunday we had 3 developments of the theme of a 'corridor' from inside the Studio through the door to outside -- the tarmac of a carpark surrounded by trees. As the idea progressed our simple attempt to grasp the journey from 'inside' to 'outside' took on layers of meaning implicit in 'within/without.'

Such solidarity we experience in this group participation I find greatly strengthening when I am alone in my study contemplating another work because I am confident I have access to layers within the strata of being that I would not otherwise find easy to reach.



Amongst the items I have sent Alex Selenitsch in our exchange of work for discussion is my publication of CIRCUITRY, originally produced as an Artists Book Limited Edition of 20, 29.04.2000, now published with some modifications as the Paula Claire Archive of Sound and Visual Poetry No 40. The work combines 11 documentary photos I took of the Alhambra tile patterns, a consideration of geometric forms governed by the number 6 that underpin these patterns, with a mysterious text by the 12th-century poet Ibn al Arabi. He narrates as follows:

'On my return journey to Seville     which is a three-month caravan journey from Tunis   a complete stranger came to me and recited    word for word the poem I had composed   although I had not written it out for anyone.   I asked him who had composed the lines   and he replied they were by Muhammad Ibn al Arabi.   Then I asked him where he had learned them   and he mentioned the very day    on which I had composed them   despite the great distance.  I asked him who had recited them for him to learn.

He said   "One night I was sitting at a session of the brethren    in the eastern part of Seville   when a stranger who looked like a mendicant   came and sat with us.   After conversing with us   he recited the lines to us.   We liked them so much we wrote them down   and asked who had composed them.  He said they were being composed by Ibn al Arabi   in the oratory of Ibn Muthanna.  We told him we had never heard of such a place in our country.   He replied that it was in Tunis   and that the lines had just been composed there." '  from Sufis of Analusia, R.W.J.Austin, Beshara Publications.

I love this story because it gives us an intimate glimpse into the devotion to poetry in the Islamic culture at that period, where groups would share their words and only afterwards write the poem down. The real experience was in learning by heart , the passing on of THE WORD. This alertness to words themselves endowed the speakers with an intense awareness of the currency of language. Reading IS immensely important, but we must not underestimate the value of memorising, taking the words right into the psyche.

I maintain that the extraordinary sophistication of Islamic tile patterns I got to know in Isfahan and Shiraz, 1976, the supreme historical example in Europe being in the Alhambra I studied in 2000, suggests that the excitation of the brain resulting from conceiving these intricate 'wirings' allowed persons alert to these circuits to share information, prefiguring our cumbersome hardware versions of modern-day communication systems. However, in those days, this was not an intellectual exercise but spiritual communication through the pure medium of poetry, memorised and shared avidly by the group.

ENTRY 13 September


The YANG of GMHopkins' achievement is


balanced by the YIN of


Read them out loud again and again before trying to think about them. They are for me 2 of the most powerful, complex and technically advanced poems in the English language.  


I am pleased to say that The British Library SOUND ARCHIVE has recognized the importance of my CD THE CLUE by purchasing it through my website SHOP for their Literature Section. It can also be borrowed and listened to at THE POETRY LIBRARY, South Bank Centre, Royal Festival Hall, Level 5, LONDON.

For my comments on the 10 pieces on this CD, please access my 2 YOUTUBE slots in which I discuss them.


Interview with me recorded recently by Eleanor McDowall of FALLINGTREE PRODUCTIONS for a programme of appreciation on BOB COBBING to be broadcast on BBCRadio4 Sunday 20 March 2011.

Immersed in writing a chapter My Life in Poetry for my 3rd Catalogue GOING FOR GOLD Poems 2001- 2011, to be published around May next year to celebrate my 50 years of creating poetry.


Today it has been officially announced that Aung San Suu Kyi (see my entries 19/21 April; 18 June) has been released from house arrest in Rangoon, Burma.

I saw her on TV NEWS take a bouquet given to her by a devout follower and weave some of its flowers into the hair on the back of her head.

May she stay free and in due course, step by step, ameliorate the condition of Her People.


FERNANDO AGUIAR who runs The Archive of Living Poetry in Lisbon, is tireless in promoting international visual poetry. He recently told me of a venture in conjunction with the 18th Congress of Braziian Poetry held in BENTO GONCALVES, BRAZIL, 25-29 October 2010.

He organised the 15th Exhibition of International Visual Poetry with the title LINGUAGENS VISUALIS NA POETICA INTERNACIONAL in the Gallery S.E.S.C, showing the work of 50 international visual poets, including me.

Keep in touch with him at; with the latest news beautifully displayed at


I wish to thank everyone who joined in at the November workshop of IN / TANGIBLES -- crossarts initiative -- held by courtesy of Oxford Brookes in their Drama Studio, Sunday 21 November 11.00 - 13.00, in conjunction with Malcolm Atkins' current research into composition/improvisation.  

Eleanor McDowall of Fallingtree Productions came to make a second recording (see ENTRY 31 October above) for her tribute to Bob Cobbing, to be broadcast on BBCRadio4, Sunday 20 March 2011. I suggested that it was most important for people to realize that the huge range of Bob's output: visual poems simultaneously sound scores (recordings in the British Library Sound Archive) is a living legacy for all who are interested in improvisation.

I selected 4 poems I had performed with Bob in the early 1970s: (i) ana perenna (1971), a palindromic chant based on forms of the ancient name 'ana;' (ii) suesequence  (1970) a fragmentation of all the sounds in 'Kleenex Boutique Tissues' we presented on Dial-a-Poem in 1971 - we had the highest number of dial-ins that year because people were so astonished at what they heard and had to hear it again!;  (iii) 'U' (red lipsticked lip marks) from The 5 Vowels (1974); (iv) Winter Poem an abstract markings blotted poem we first performed for Oxford University Poetry Society in 1974. This array gave us the range from words to pure sounds.

My voice expressions were enhanced by 3 musicians from Oxford Improvisers: Malcolm Atkins, John Jobbagy and Paul Medley; responded to in movement by Ana Barbour, Flavia Coube, Paulette Mae and Leslie Tomkins; and interpreted in painting by Cassandra Isaacson and Clare Bassett.  Participants made a contribution in vocal sound when they felt like it.    

BOB! I know you loved it! I've written this black on white because you told me black and white are the strongest colours.

ENTRY 31 January 2011

OPTISCHE POESIE  by Prof Klaus Peter Dencker

publisher De Gruyter BERLIN November 2010

Thanks to De Gruyter; for sending me this recently-published huge book (969 pages; 300 illustrations)  to review and place in my Archive. Its full title states it is a survey of VISUAL POETRY from early prehistoric drawings to present digital experiments. With the help of a scholarly German-speaking neighbour who translated and discussed with me main headings and key points I can say that it constitutes a significant contribution to this still little-known and appreciated subject and deserves to be in all  prominent academic libraries.   Klaus Peter has been a visual poet all his life as well as an academic. See some of his work on the visual poetry website RENEGADE run by Andrew Topel (USA).  The book proposes categories in which to place the huge range of modern (20th-century) examples but as the whole purpose of sound and visual poetries is to melt distinctions, I take these with a pinch of salt. However, the enormous number of references make this book a happy hunting ground for people keen to know and understand the subject -- the copious footnotes are stashed with key facts from the author's lifetime experience of the field. He stretches his title to encompass sound and electronically-recorded poetry, work in film and projections in the environment as well as a historical survey finding fresh examples to add to the classics on the subject, Pattern Poetry Guide to an Unknown Literature by poet Dick Higgins, State University of New York Pres 1987; Text als Figur by poets Jeremy Adler and Ulrich Ernst, Illustrated Catalogue of Exhibition, Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbuttel 1987, both in my Archive.

As the international nature of the exponents is crucial to the understanding of the significance of their activities in the context of 20th-century creative expression,  I am sorry that the Appendices do not include a Bibliography; List of Archives; major Exhibition Catalogues; where vital facts concerning visual and sound poetries can be found quickly by non German-speaking researchers. Also, because the subject is still not recognised in its proper context, I would have preferred a higher ratio of illustrations to text. Klaus Peter agrees that anthologies are badly needed, but laments he has not another life in which to produce one. Thanks to him for the enormous commitment to his subject this book demonstrates. The field is so vast, there are major names in my Archive that are not included in his Personsregister which inevitably has a preponderance of German creators; but now that this prestigious Press has produced this prodigious survey, let's hope it stimulates the momentum for  the entire spectrum of the subject to  become visible and understood by the public at large.    


Make Perhaps This Out Sense Of Can You

BBC Radio4  The Poetry Slot: 4.30pm SUNDAY 20 MARCH

repeated SATURDAY 26 MARCH 11.30pm

and available on iplayer for 7 days afterwards

Please listen to the Tribute to Bob Cobbing (1920-2002) sound and visual poet extraordinary, a programme made by Eleanor McDowell of Fallingtree Productions -- see my entries 31 Oct and 7 DEC 2010 above, relating to the interview I gave to Eleanor for the programme, excerpts of which she has included.  



Can poetry tackle the subject of nuclear disaster?


Please listen to WE WALK, my threnody for Chernobyl you will find on my CD The Clue, Poem 8. This was recorded in 1986. It combines words, song, music and group walk.



Sunday 1 May 4.00pm

BOOKLAUNCH The Responsive Subject

This includes one of my typewriter poems ETHEREAL LIGHT 1985


ENTRY 4 MAY 2011


On the evening of 4 May 1961 I began writing poetry in a mighty thunderstorm when living near Primrose Hill London NW1. The lions were roaring in the Zoo close by.

My poem/projects now number 775, annotated up to 589 in my Catalogues 1 and 2 in the Poetry Library, Southbank Centre London. I am working on Catalogue 3, GOING FOR GOLD which I shall publish at a celebratory event in 2012.

Then I shall aim to finish and publish the Catalogue of the Paula Claire Archive of Sound and Visual Poetry Oxford, an international Collection I have been gathering since the 1970s, now amounting to over 5,000 items: books of many kinds, catalogues, cassettes and CDs. My introduction will make clear the huge significance of this Movement that focusses on the nature of language itself, presenting a gamut of innovative possibilities in the great art of poetry.

ENTRY 18 November 2011


Visual Poetry -- The Donation of Mirella Bentivoglio to MART

Mirella has deposited a large number of visual poems by 97 international female exponents that she has been given by us all  over the years for her many exhibitions since 1971. There is a display of a range of the work and a superb Catalogue (239 pages) with copious illustrations, published by   





Interview in ISIS Magazine March Issue - this was not published

but has just appeared instead in the Pembroke College magazine PEMBROKE BULLFROG - should be online soon.




Thursday 19 April 8.00pm

DVD: see my remote reading of 6 poems; my interview; both viewable on


OXFRINGE 2012: Lunchtime Event Thursday 7 JUNE

1.00-2.00pm  St Michael at the North Gate  Cornmarket  central OXFORD 

POEMS FOR MANY VOICES -- Join Oxford Poet Paula Claire in a communal performance of poems by G.M.Hopkins, Bob Cobbing and herself that she has arranged for groups of interactive voices, part of her Dreaming Spires Online initiative. Free entry, family friendly.

*OXFRINGE 2012: Lunchtime 1.00pm Saturday 2 JUNE: 

 ADVERT for the above: WATERSTONES BOOKSHOP Broad Street central OXFORD: I shall lead all present in a 15-20-minute 'taster' for my EVENT 7 JUNE.


ENVIRONMENTAL UTTERANCE Performative Conference Saturday/Sunday 1-2 September

University College FALMOUTH - Exeter University

I shall be inviting all present to work with me in a performance POMONA POMONA PATRORUM PATRONA in the old orchard 



My 50th Anniversary of Writing Celebration

Special Edition Series  Wednesday 3 October 8.00pm                  Extending the Forms of Poetry

Paula Claire presents an illustrated survey of international sound, visual and concrete poetry in our Collection, explaining its importance in the history of 20th-century innovative poetic forms. She offers a unique perspective on the subject supported by her Archive of Sound and Visual Poetry, over 5,000 items gathered by exchanging her Little Press Publications with exponents wordwide.

An experienced performer here and abroad in schools, colleges, arts centres, museums and festivals -- Venice, Berlin, Toronto, Houston, Oporto, Cheltenham -- she will then involve all present in the diversity of her poems and artists books, explorations during 50 years of writing.

At this event: BOOKLAUNCH: Catalogue 3, GOING FOR GOLD, Poems 2001-2011 with an Introduction by Professor Robert Hampson, Royal Holloway University of London. 

ENTRY 22 JUNE 2012

On Tuesday 19th June I went to the happiest birthday party ever -- invited to a reunion with the mother of my son's schoolfriend whom I have not seen for so many years. We were all waiting for her on the rose terrace and my husband and I were sitting on a bench a bit away from the clusters of Family and Friends because in this damp weather we both suffer from arthritis. "She's coming!" someone cried so we stood up and I got my camera out and fixed my attention on the main door into the garden through which everyone had come to the terrace when I saw an apparition at my right elbow!

She had sneaked up on me from an unexpected direction! "It's wonderful to see you," I faltered, trying to get over the shock. Was it REALLY her after all these years of longing for her to be free? "May I give you THREE POEMS FOR SUU (1991/2008/2010) I have compiled for you in this booklet?" Her attentive P.A. took our offerings -- my husband gave her his little handpainted panel of a monkey climbing a vine from the border of a window (c.1340) in the Latin Chapel of Christ Church Cathedral because it symbolises ENDEAVOUR and that is what she said on Newsnight it's all about. All any of us can do is try our best to make the world a better place for those less fortunate than ourselves. Her P.A. kindly took my camera and snapped us together, so thoughtful as I am very sentimental.

That Lady reminds me of a Jack-in-a-Box.  I can assure you that the entire evening she was the life and soul of the party, determined to catch up with all the people who had known her for so many years in Oxford first as a student then in an 'ordinary' role of wife and mother -- with some study tucked in among her family chores. Having been tamped down for so long, it has given her phenomenal staying power and a passionate love of life. After she'd cut her birthday cake, having survived our singing and cheering, she insisted on running round dishing it out to everyone, much to the bewilderment of the attentive staff who thought that was their job -- and the nicest touch of all, she sat with the String Quartet who had valiantly played during the supper, drowned by the hubbub of strangers at the tables suddenly inspired to  share with their neighbours their particular memories of The Birthday Girl. She sat and listened with rapt attention while they played a movement, and had her photo taken sitting among them.

Mulling over this party, I  thought hard about the difference between 'joy' and 'happiness.' Joy elevates;  but happiness is endlessly pervasive. The happiness that accrued during the party seemed to soak into our bones. Yes, pickled in happiness we were. A feeling so nourishing, like the softest sunshine fingering through the mist of an early morning. Let's hope we can keep it spreading --  spreading --

When we got home our son phoned. "You're on BBCTV News," he announced. We caught the fuller version towards the end of the transmission. "Must be an early Midsummer Night's Dream we are in," I concluded, "not supposed to happen till 24th June, but funny weather we've been having  this year." 


Next Performance including Lady in Waiting from THREE POEMS FOR SUU and BIRDBRAINED? my tribute to the uncanny abilities of migratory birds, wearing my 'silly hat.'


Monday 12 NOVEMBER 7.30pm

sharing a Programme with Giles Goodland



for full information


MARCH 2013


14 February to 5 May

The Poetry Library level 5 Royal Festival Hall

Southbank Centre LONDON

I am included in this show

I presented the First Performance of my i-pad poem

POSTER FOR AMERICA, a Writ-Large text for

billboards and projection onto buildings

at the Private View, 20 March

This poem to be published in THE OTHER ROOM ANTHO 2012-3.


APRIL 2013


I am pleased to have 4 poems included in this  lively publication -- see link on my homepage



languguage art anthology in 2 volumes

a  BOOK and a download

editor poet Philip DAVENPORT

a major initiative and excellent value at 29.99 for both from

knivesforksandspoons press - see their website

I have a poem in each


May 2013

National Association of Writers in Education

Skills Sharing Day 1 June Corsham Court near BATH

Creating Visual Poems for Performance by Many Voices

my work in schools for over 20 years

see NAWE link under my name on web for full text of my talk


4 August 2013

I am intent on finishing the Catalogue to my collection The Paula Claire Archive of Sound and Visual Poetry, an

estimated 5,000 items, gathered mostly by exchanging my Little Press publications with fellow poets world


All news ANON!


18 November 2013

MAGMA Poetry Magazine Issue 57

V I S U A L  P O E T R Y

See my article The Shaped Poem

on MAGMA 57 blog hear our group performance - over 100 voices performing my 2 poems

whistling wind - i-pad Scrawl Series 2013

MAGMA - scorchmark poem 1973


31 MAY 2014

now published by Laurence King

TYPEWRITER ART - a Modern Anthology

by Barrie Tullett graphics artist crazy on typewriters, owns over 20

beautifully designed by John Dowling, a treat to be/hold

3 poems by me 


8 December 2014

BOB COBBING : Bill Jubobe

Exhibition at Chelsea Space, gallery at Chelsea College of Art next to Tate Britain Millbank LONDON

Open Wed to Fri 11.00 - 17.00 till 19 December

Great to see SUESEQUENCE splurged all over 1 wall. Bob and I wowed Dial-A-Poem with this and got the highest number of call-ins! People couldn't believe their ears!

Lots of Documentation, many posters, photos and Bob's array of 'musical instruments' in a vitrine.

for details see

SIBILA - Brazilian Poetry Magazine

A lively and very informative magazine, now published only on line including all kinds of poetry, articles and news, founded by Regis Bonvicino with Romulo Valle-Salvino.

See Poesia e Critica Literaria section for interviews with a variety of international poets, 26 to date including Maggie O'Sullivan and me, kindly recommended by her.

Don't click 'translate.' English not good. Go past the general introduction to the Interview in Portuguese, and below that you will find the answers in English I supplied.

This Interview series well worth keeping your eye on.   







THE PAULA CLAIRE ARCHIVE from WORD to ART - International Poet Artists
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